How to Sleep Better When Pregnant

Pregnancy is an exciting time for women. Your body will go through lots of changes in order for your growing baby to thrive. Some of these changes might be uncomfortable and could lead to insomnia or other sleep issues. If you are having difficulty sleeping here are some tips to help you rest easier so you have the energy you need when your baby arrives.

“Pregnant Mother Resting” by Victor Habbick image credit:

Establish a Regular Bedtime Routine

Children are not the only ones that need bed time routines.  Adults and especially pregnant women should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Establishing a regular routine will help you relax and get a more restful night’s sleep. You can prepare your body for the much needed rest by doing the same thing every night and going to bed at the same time.  Start with relaxing activities such as reading, or taking a bath two hours before bed. Make sure your television and computer are turned off in your bedroom when you lay down to sleep.  Your bedroom should be quiet and free from distractions.  If your television or computer is still distracting remove them from your bedroom.

Use a Pregnancy Pillow to Help You Sleep on Your Left Side

Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side. This position takes pressure off of her liver and provides more blood flow for her baby.  During your second or third trimester you may feel uncomfortable sleeping on your left side. If that is the case you can purchase a pregnancy pillow at maternity stores, online or any major department store.  These pillows are designed to wrap around your growing belly and provide the support you will need to be comfortable resting on your left side.

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Exercise During the Day but Don’t Overdo it

Exercise is healthy for everyone especially during pregnancy.  But before you start a regular fitness routine, make sure you discuss it with your doctor.  Doing yoga is another great way to relax and help your body unwind for a better night’s sleep. There are several yoga and fitness DVDs that are safe for pregnant women. You can purchase exercise DVDs at your local department store or online.  If you are planning on exercising regularly make sure your routine ends at least four hours before bed.  Physical fitness releases endorphins which may make it harder for you to settle down for the night. Don’t over exert yourself.  Pregnant women should not lift anything heavier than 30 lbs or it may induce early labor or lead to other complications.  Don’t forget  to talk to your doctor first before exercising during your pregnancy.

Limit Your Beverages in the Evening

It is important for pregnant women to drink plenty of fluids during the day, however due to your high progesterone level and your growing uterus pushing on your bladder this may lead to several bathroom trips. To avoid waking in the middle of the night to relieve yourself, cut down on your fluid intake two hours before bed.  Also make sure you empty your bladder before you lay down at night.

Sit up After Eating to Avoid Heartburn in the Middle of the Night

Heartburn is a very common occurrence during pregnancy.  This is caused  by your growing uterus pressing on your stomach which forces the acid into your esophagus.  To help ease heartburn during the night sit upright for at least an hour after eating.  Do not eat right before you go to bed.  If your heartburn still keeps you up at night it is safe for pregnant women to take Mylanta or Tums. Propping yourself up with pillows in your bed will also help ease heartburn overnight.

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Talk to Your Doctor

If you have tried any or all of the above and are still having difficulty getting a full night’s sleep discuss all your issues with your doctor.  He or she may have a better solution for your individual needs.
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